1. Trim Those Claws
If you walk your dog on a sidewalk regularly, it's likely that his nails will file down naturally as they hit the pavement. But if you're one of the many people whose dog uses Wee-Wee pads or walks on grass or dirt, your dog's nails may be getting long very quickly -- which can be a problem. Nails, especially the dewclaws which are extra long, can become a hazard to your pet. They can catch on things, curl around into the paw pad, and cause general discomfort as your dog walks. It's important to take your dog to the groomer at least once a month for nail maintenance.

2. Wash Aways Those Fleas (and Eggs)
With flea season around the corner, it's important that your dog be on a pest control regimen. This should include a topical treatment like Frontline Plus or Advantix, or a pill like Comfortis. Nevertheless, as the meds wear off and your dog is around other dogs and walking on grass, it is likely he will still pick up fleas. The best thing to give your dog immediate relief is a flea bath at your local groomer. We offer a non-toxic flea shampoo that rids your dog of fleas without harmful pesticides -- and recommend baths every other week during summer months (in combination with your at-home flea treatment) for a happy flea-free season.

3. Anal Glands Don't Express Themselves
Ever heard the expression, 'Don't try this at home?' It definitely applies to the dreaded anal gland expression. When dogs' anal glands are full, they can cause discomfort, as well as leading to impacted and potentially infected glands. Signs that your dog needs his anal glands expressed are: scooting or dragging their butt along the floor as they try to release the glands themselves, constantly licking their butt (which may also result in their breath smelling of a distinct fishy smell), or leakage of the anal gland fluid on their dog bed -- or your bed if that's where they spend time. The leakage may have a brownish or tan hue and will give off a pungent fishy odor. Bring your dog to the groomer to have the glands expressed once a month. Most groomers accept walk-ins and the service is usually included in a full-groom package.

4. Shave Those Paw Pads
It's foxtail season. The time of year when your dog romps in the tall grass and can pick up, among other things, the very dangerous foxtail -- a type of grass that can burrow its way through the skin causing severe pain and many other medical problems. Dogs commonly get these foxtails stuck in the hair in between their paw pads as they walk. To help prevent this from happening, we recommend that you get the hair in between your dogs paw pads shaved. While most groomers include this in a basic bath, it's a good idea to ask for it specifically so that it's not overlooked. When your dog's at the groomer, have them check between the pads to make sure nothing's there.

5. De-Matt That Mane Event
If a dog's hair is matted, it's not comfortable because those matts are pulling on the skin causing discomfort at a minimum, abrasions and hot spots at a maximum. If a dog is matted, it's not clean because dirt, debris, and even fleas and flea eggs can hide in the matted hair. And while some people think a matted dog looks scruffy and cute, their dog is just a haircut away from being shaved, which many people don't like aesthetically. One of the biggest requests I get from customers is "Don't shave my dog!" -- even though their dog is matted. A dog groomer's job is to help a dog be its best self. That means that if the choices are de-matting a dog or shaving a dog, you should opt for shaving because it's what's most comfortable for your dog.
Gia Battochio, Owner of Pour La Pooch Gia Battocchio is the owner of Pour La Pooch Grooming Salon & Doggie Daycare in Los Angeles, Calif., offering professional dog grooming services, pet accessories and unique doggie gifts. Their new indoor dog park is set to open to the public on May 1, 2013.

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